The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

A telling question

Several students from Texas A&M University at Qatar visited our campus recently, and I asked one of them what his favorite courses were. This budding chemical engineer gave an answer I was not expecting: Political Science 206 and 207, American National Government, and State and Local Government. All students at Texas A&M at Qatar are required to take these courses, just as they are in College Station.
He then said something that has stuck with me: these were his favorite courses not only because he enjoyed learning about a culture so different from his own, but that learning about our national and state constitutions made him feel a special kinship with his fellow Aggies half-way around the world in Texas. It gave him something in common with students whose backgrounds were nothing like his own.
In my opinion, this exchange said a lot about the value of our Qatar campus and the importance of instilling a global perspective in each of our students. The idea is what social anthropologists call “glocalization” – helping people preserve their own traditions and heritage, but also expanding their way of thinking so they can understand people from other cultures and feel at ease at places far from home. This skill is especially critical for our students, who will compete for jobs not just with the best and brightest from Texas or even the entire U.S., but from around the world.
Many of these best and brightest are Aggies at Texas A&M at Qatar. During my visit last year to the campus in Doha, I was greatly impressed by the students I met. They are smart, hard-working and – like all Aggies – eager to make their mark in the world. After just six years, Texas A&M at Qatar has become known throughout the Middle East as the university for aspiring engineers. Texas A&M at Qatar has given Texas A&M’s renowned engineering program a very visible and important presence in a part of the world where we were previously not well known.
The curriculum is identical to the engineering curriculum in College Station, and courses are taught in English in a high-tech, coeducational setting. Students earn a Texas A&M diploma and Aggie ring and take full advantage of the opportunities this provides. In fact, those graduating next month will hear me give their commencement address. Former students participate in Qatar A&M Club activities and traditions such as Muster, as well.
Our Aggies in Qatar have helped us in Texas learn more about Middle Eastern culture and how to succeed there, just as they have learned more about Texas and American culture during their visits to College Station. Building these bridges that facilitate “glocalization” for people in two very different cultures has made the future brighter for all who wear the Aggie ring.

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